Monday, May 21, 2018

St. BARBARA OF THE BOOKSELLERS


S. BARBARA DEI LIBRAI
Founded in the eleventh century by the prefect Giovanni Crescenzio and his wife Rogata as written on an inscription in the church
It was made from a fornix of the Theater of Pompey perhaps testified by its ancient name in Satro corrupted form from the Latin word theatrum
It was consecrated again in 1306
At the beginning of the sixteenth century it was the national church of the English people in Rome
It was granted to the Confraternity of the Booksellers in 1601 and rebuilt in 1680 at the behest of the Florentine bookseller and printer Zenobio Masotti (1606/88)
It was restored in 1858 by Gaetano Bonoli
In 1969 it was deconsecrated and used as a warehouse
It was reopened in 1982 and restored in the years 1990/93
S. Barbara was born in Turkey to a pagan father and a Christian mother. When she decided to convert, in 306, the father reported her, and she was sentenced to death by beheading
It was her father himself who beheaded her, after a couple of days of torture. As soon as she was decapitated, lightning struck the man, killing him
S. Barbara is therefore patron saint of everything that has to do with fire and explosives

FAÇADE
1680 by Giuseppe Passeri (1654/1714), pupil of Carlo Maratta
Restored in 1858
Statue “S. Barbara” by Ambrogio Parisi
ENTRANCE NAVE
In the vault fresco “Glory of St. Barbara” by Luigi Garzi (1638/1721) from Pistoia, a pupil of Andrea Sacchi and later influenced by Carlo Maratta

“One can consider Luigi Garzi as a not so well known artist, parallel to the action carried out by Carlo Maratta, but with interesting differences and a more prolonged participation in the eighteenth century. (...) He shows a Frenchified style, original for his time, supported in particular by Poussin and more generally by the contemporary works of transalpine cousins. The stately results of this art style, however, is tempered by his cute miniatures details, anticipating similar results already fully belonging to the eighteenth century” (Giancarlo Sestieri)

On the right triptych “Madonna and Child with Sts. John the Baptist and the Archangel Michael” 1453 signed by Leonardo da Roma
MAIN NAVE
Four frescoes on the walls:
On the right “St. Teresa” and “St. Anthony of Padua”, on the left “St. Philip Neri” and “St. Francis of Assisi” 1682 by Luigi Garzi
In the vault “Four Evangelists” and “Faith, Hope, Charity and Love of God” second half of 1800s by Domenico Monacelli (active in the nineteenth century)
“Wooden cross” of the XIV century inserted, with an interesting Baroque style, in the center of the fresco “Madonna and St. John at the foot of the Cross” by Luigi Garzi
Right wall “Nine brothers presented to the Virgin Mary by the Sts. Barbara, Thomas Aquinas and John of God” seventeenth-century painting maybe by the French Claude Mellan (1598/1688)

“Apparition of Christ to S. Barbara” and oval in the vault of the presbytery “Eternal Father” by Luigi Garzi
Beautiful seventeenth-century front panel of the altar made out of rare stones
On the left “Tomb and bust of Zenobio Masotti” the patron and builder of the church
Lunette “S. Barbara decapitated by his father” by Domenico Monacelli

Altarpiece “Madonna and Sts. Peter, Paul, Jerome, Thomas and John of God” maybe by Francesco Ragusa (1591/1665)
SPECCHI CHAPEL
Altarpiece “S. Saba” by G.B. Brughi (1660/1730), pupil of Baciccio

St. BALBINA


S. BALBINA
Titulus Sanctae Balbinae mentioned in the year 595, probably erected in the halls of the house of the consul of 193 and 204 Lucius Fabius Cilone, which was given to him by his friend Septimius Severus (193/211)
The remains of the house (Domus Cilonis) perhaps belonged previously to Hadrian (117/138) (Domus private Hadriani) are in the convent of the church
In this house the Titulus Tigridae was instituted, mentioned in the year 499 and therefore before the Titulus Sanctae Balbinae
Restored in the eighth century
Restored again in 1489 for Marco Barbo nephew of Pope Paul II Barbo (1464/71). On this occasion the columns of the portico were replaced with pillars
It was abandoned in early 1600s
Restored and reopened in 1698, again restored in 1813, 1825 and finally in the years 1927/30 by Antonio Muñoz (1884/1960)
On the floor “Black and white mosaics” from the necropolis excavated in 1929 for the opening of the Imperial Way, the ancestor of today's Via Cristoforo Colombo, which began from the Circus Maximus
TO THE RIGHT OF THE ENTRANCE
“Tomb of Stephen de Surdis” d. 1303 from the ancient Basilica of S. Peter
4th NICHE ON THE RIGHT
Marble relief “Crucifixion” maybe by Mino da Fiesole (1429/84) and John Duknovich aka Giovanni Dalmata (about 1440/1510)

MAIN ALTAR
1742 jasper urn with the relics of St. Balbina, Felicissimus and others
APSE
Frescoes “Redeemer in Glory with the Sts. Balbina, Felicissimus and Quirinus with a pope” 1599 by the Florentine pupil of Passignano Anastasio Fontebuoni (1571/1626) for Clement VIII Aldobrandini (1592/1605) with coat of arms on the triumphal arch
“Cosmatesque chair” of the thirteenth century

6th NICHE ON THE LEFT
Altar with small well for the relics in the floor
On the wall very damaged fresco “Crucifixion of St. Peter”
3rd NICHE ON THE LEFT
“Memorial stone with mosaic cross” of the fourteenth century
Frescoes on the walls “Madonna, Child and apostles” and on the apse “Christ” end of thirteenth century by an artist from the school of Pietro de' Cerroni aka Pietro Cavallini (about 1240/1325)
In the lower and oldest layer of frescoes it is possible to see a “Madonna and Child with Sts. Peter and Paul”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

St. ATHANASIUS OF THE GREEKS


S. ATANASIO DEI GRECI
1580/81 Giacomo Della Porta (1533/1602) for Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572/85) who established the Congregation of the Greeks for the communities that followed the Greek-Albanian rite in Southern Italy
It was consecrated only in 1583 and the decoration was completed only in 1591
The trichora plant (rectangular room with apses on three sides) follows the byzantine schemes
Greek Catholic Church officiated with the Byzantine rite in Greek
FAÇADE
Maybe completed by Martino Longhi the Elder (1534/91)
With its two towers echoes the nearby and almost contemporary church SS. Trinità dei Monti
CHAPEL ON THE RIGHT
Altarpiece “Annunciation” about 1583 by Francesco Traballesi (active second half of the sixteenth century)
On the left “Tomb of the priest Demetrius Falereo” d. 1664 with the painting “Head of Christ between two executioners” of the sixteenth century by an unknown artist of the German school, improbably attributed to Albrecht Dürer (1471/1528)
APSE ON THE RIGHT
Altarpiece “Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin Mary” began in 1585 and ended only in 1591, maybe early work by Giuseppe Cesari aka Cavalier d'Arpino (1568/1640)
In a glass case there is the mechanism of the clock tower dating back to 1710. The clock is externally facing the Greek College
MAIN ALTAR
Great “Iconostasis in wood” 1876 by Andrea Busiri Vici (1818/1911)
It replaced the original iconostasis painted by Traballesi whose fragments are now kept in the refectory of the Collegio Greco
APSE ON THE LEFT
“Crucifixion with Mary and St. John” by Giuseppe Cesari aka Cavalier d'Arpino
CHAPEL ON THE LEFT
Altarpiece “Jesus among the doctors” by Francesco Traballesi (active second half of the sixteenth century)
COLLEGIO GRECO (Greek College)
To the left of the church
1796 Carlo Puri De Marchis